THE VOYAGES OF EOS 2012
PART 1 - MAY TO JULY
Mike came out to the boat a bit later than usual due to his presidential commitments to the Sea Urchins and also, as it is not quite so hot here as in Turkey, there is less urgency to get Eos out and back into the water before the timbers start shrinking. With only 3 weeks, and some bad weather initially, it was a bit rushed to get all the cleaning and painting done, never mind de-winterizing the engines.
The boatyard here in Kalamata was helpful but does not have the range of expertise of Kusadasi; Dimitrios was, as ever, very helpful. The town shops don’t stock a good range of paints, which is frustrating, the boat is now painted Royal blue instead of her much classier navy and no deck paint for sale without it comes from Athens at vast price.
Mike arrived back the day before Nicola and Dom’s wedding and we came back here a week later.
Another 04.15 taxi to Manchester airport, Easyjet to Athens, X93 to bus station and coach to Kalamata, 12 hours from waking to boat. On the flight we met the delightful Ionie who at only 22 has already backpacked and taught English in Albania, travelled widely in Iran, Syria, Kurdistan and can’t understand why her friends spend their holidays on the Costa Brava! She also speaks fluent Greek, can read Latin, her father learnt Sanskrit at Oxford and is now an author. Now she is travelling and teaching wherever, until her money runs out.
Greece may be in the doldrums but even in the dusty villages our coach passed through, the roses are fabulous, bright oranges, reds and pinks, all grown together.
Supper not brilliant at taverna along the way - the taverna owner and wife shouting at the Greek politicians on television, will we soon be trading in the drachma? We might go back on Sunday to watch the Spanish Grand Prix.
SATURDAY 12 MAY 2012
Warm, sun with high clouds, thunderstorm later
Here we go again with deck washing, scrubbing of the sun blinds which proved to be rather disappointing as though a lot of dirt came off, there are still grey streaks.
General tidying, putting back all the fixings taken off for painting.
Big shop at A & B. Bought some smoked mackerel, I think.
The swallows are here but not our kingfisher, do they migrate and haven’t returned yet?
During the night I heard a number of youths chanting in the streets, was this a demonstration or Saturday night high spirits?
SUNDAY 13 MAY 2012
Warm, sun, small amount of thunder later.
Deck painting, and other boring things. Mike put on new fixings for the generator casing; the official maker’s ones break at frequent intervals and £7.50 each, so he has devised a much better method.
The smoked fish made a very good kedgeree; after filleting, I had to soak it in several changes of water as VERY salty.
Listened via twitter(sort of!) to the grand prix, another new winner.
MONDAY 14 MAY 2012
Warmish, wind, cloud, rain
The local butcher greeted me like a long lost friend, in spite of this he didn’t have anything much to sell apart from some sort of sausage. The lady at the bakery showed me photos of her family, very pretty granddaughter and great granddaughter.
I have begun in earnest to learn more Greek using the other book, not Berlitz which we haven’t found at all useful.
Painted decks, I did the twiddly bits and Mike the large areas, and it does look much better, very pale grey again.
The Greek air force must have a new delivery of fuel as very active all day! The Kalamata air base is only a few km along the road from here.
The tiny canary yellow painted house around the corner has a riot of flower pots again this year, huge displays of pink and red geraniums and lots of beautiful lilies, together with bougainvillea, I must take a photo when no-one is about.
Slept like logs for once.
TUESDAY 15 MAY 2012
Warmish, clouds, small amount of rain
A general tidy of boat, hoovering.
Fuel man came, but delayed in delivery as he hadn’t got a nozzle small enough, so a runner was sent back to garage.
Air force still active.
I shopped and managed to buy postcards but too late for post office and stamps.
Remembered to buy loo paper, always useful.
WEDNESDAY 16 MAY 2012
V cloudy first thing, but cleared to a bright scudding clouds sort of day.
Slipped 10.00 Wind up to 5 further south and after we had rounded Ak Akritas and continued northwards to FINAKOUNDA where we are meeting Jim and Caroline Baerselman who are part of the Cruising Association Rally which we are joining on Sunday.
The remains of snow in the crevices on Oros Tavyetos 2400 m on the Mani peninsular.
Joy of joys as we came up the coast, a dolphin or two came a-leaping adjacent to us.
Met up with Jim and Caroline for a beer and a sandwich at the nearest taverna. He organised our mooring place with the fishermen. We are the treasurer for this rally and need to know what our duties are.
We are alongside the jetty, the first time for a year probably, but rather tricky avoiding the very large and rusting mooring rings. We had a coming together with one when I didn’t get Big Buoy into place in time. We had just got ourselves sorted when a local fisherman came rather wanting a place alongside too - bad luck on him, though we did move a bit in what is a rather restricted length of quay. Yachts can moor the other side, but bows to, to avoid the ballast, not really our scene.
Finakounda would make a lovely family seaside holiday place, good beach, tempting blue waters, tavernas, but not an easy journey from UK if you have small children.
THURSDAY 17 MAY 2012
Cloudy Slipped 08.00
Up early for a good start to Katakolon, but first a little repair work to damage on hull where I was negligent in getting ‘big buoy’ in place when coming in yesterday!
Off, but weather doesn’t look promising, perhaps George at the little shop on the marina was right - up to yesterday the forecast was for a flat calm, but a gale is blowing in the Genoa area and is obviously coming our way sooner than expected.
After passing Methoni, quite a swell; after an hour we decided that Katakolon was too far in view of the forecast and made for PILOS, and what a nice place to be in spite of the considerable swell at entrance to marina. Lovely central square, naturally with cafes galore and useful shops, including a wonderful plumber - more of him later.
Had a good walk up to Niocastro which is being repaired with EU money! it covers 19 acres, has a vast citadel, the Church of the Metamorphosis, a dear little rose garden and a wonderful building which houses the Rene Puaux Collection of lithographs, engravings etc., mostly depicting events during the Greek War of Independence and Battle of Navarinou. The building is reminiscent of those at Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua.
During our walk through the castle grounds, we went through a wild flower area of cornflowers, herb robert, etc encouraging a host of butterflies, mainly brown and some very tiny.
The gale raged, the boats rocked and rolled, spray over the sea wall and very glad we curtailed our journeying for today.
Lots of heavy rain, but later we went back into Pilos and found a computer man who cleaned the dust out of Mike’s machine there and then for €5. At long last I found a cafe with wifi so could communicate with the world.
FRIDAY 18 MAY 2012
Some wind, coolish
Not a day for continuing our travels, but good for finishing off the odd bits of painting. I did a bit of shopping and exploring, otherwise confined to the cabin as wet paint nearly everywhere.
SATURDAY 19 MAY 2012
Warm, slight wind, getting up towards midday as usual
Slipped 09.00, very choppy at entrance to bay, inevitable after the gales of Thursday.
Trouble with starboard engine- it stopped. Fuel starvation. Returned to PILOS. On investigation the new valves asked for by the insurance company proved too small to let through the rubbish in the tank, therefore a big blockage. We are changing port and stbd filters and altered back the valve arrangements for the moment. We probably have the dreaded fuel virus as well.
The aforementioned plumber and his shop had all we needed for repairs to aft shower pump.
After Mike’s valiant efforts changing fuel filters etc, we had a good walk then, of course, a beer or two.
I should mention that the dirty fuel was cured by, inter alia, a loan of fuel treatment from Dave K: whatever there has been no recurrence and I am extremely grateful.
Early to bed for good start on Sunday.
SUNDAY 20 MAY 2012
Dull, then sun, but cold wind
Slipped 07.05 and hoping for a good run to KATAKOLON Still very bumpy around the headland, but then as forecast, a gentle breeze. It is still jolly cold, I wouldn’t want to be spending my summer holidays on one of the islands at present.
Arrived K at 13.30. Six of the other rally boats are already here. The marina is huge but not too much space for yachts. Apparently there were several more pontoons at one time, don’t know why they were taken out. Cruise ships visit, at present Costa Mediterranea is in - they are busy testing their life boats!! We face a big square used for car parking. The fair is in town, will we all visit it later?
Charles Reed on Flica came to visit, a natural bon viveur and good company; he spends 4-5 months a year in these waters, his wife not keen on sailing. Mike had met him briefly, earlier in Kalamata.
Managed a good walk up behind the town and nearly down to the sea towards the north. Wonderful: and plentiful bright yellow and orange butterflies. Nearly savaged by dog; had sticks with us for the return, but he must have been asleep this time.
Slept like a log.
MONDAY 21 MAY 2012
Dull, very slow for sun to burn through.
A little local problem with electrics, put right later and no probs.
Some crews going off by taxi to the fairly local long established winery; we have asked them to bring back a box of red for us.
As it is Monday, most shops closed. The village has 3 streets, plenty of tavernas (probably too many for the number of tourists around), some arty shops, closed today. Museum open tomorrow when we have gone.
Get to know you drinks and eats on shore. Met up with David and Jilly Covell in Meanderer of Môn and their friends David and Sarah who are Rhosneigr folk and know Sue and John very well.
We were all due to go to supper at the local taverna, but suddenly an horrific squall blew up, we have never known such an occurrence, none of us could get off our boats for 2 hours, most people decided not to get off, some took their boats out to anchor in the bay. The harbour master Leon was a very worried man for a couple of hours. Eventually 7 of us had a jolly good meal.
Jim and Caroline Baerselman stayed on board Eos as they have no boat.
Sailing in these waters, the depth is around 1500m.. Sounds scary!
TUESDAY 22 MAY 2012
Windy, some sun, warmish
Slipped 07.45 We were about 6th to leave, but were 2nd to arrive at KIPARISSIA. A nice long quay, but a horrid concrete ledge at water level and no good for our exhaust. We are all very careful with our lines and fenders.
Our own suppers on board. Callers on board for later drinks.
WEDNESDAY 23 MAY 2012
Still a lop and several skippers very worried, but we seem to remain fairly stable.
Mixed boat suppers, so decisions as to food, shopping and cooking.
The village has quite a good high street, though didn’t find a butcher. The main square has several tavernas which were full just before lunch.
We have the skippers’ meeting on board as it rained just before they were due to find a nearby taverna.
We had a very entertaining supper with Charles, Anthony, Sarah, Pam and John (Mike was in another group as we decided we didn’t have to stay together.) Think our group was the last to finish. Pam and John brought starters and wine, including a Retsina which I had never drunk, but enjoyed very much, Charles brought his very delicious stew, I did rice, and Sarah bought lovely strawberries and baklava.
THURSDAY 24 MAY 2012
Cold and windy.
All boats left, bar Cosi (John and Pam) and us and understand they had a pretty torrid sail down to Navarinou Bay (Pilos)..
Mike and I found a butcher and fishmonger together with lots of other really useful shops, and naturally had a beer on way home.
The weather improved but still not really warm.
Both Cosi and us had to move to make room for a small (40 passenger) cruise ship to come in, all very well but they kept their loud generator on all night!
Pre-dinner drinks on board Cosi plus Charles who later came to supper with us - another jolly evening.
FRIDAY 25 MAY 2012
Wind moderate, sun and heat later
Cosi and us slipped 07.05. Charles also, tho’ he is leaving to go north and meet up with family in Fiskardho (Cephalonia). We had a good run south to NAVARINOU BAY(Pilos) and arrived at 11.00 in time to join the Cruising Association Olympics organized by Meanderer.
A great deal of organization has gone into these games, with buoys marking the dinghy (chariot) racing course, Dave has made 3 dear little coloured boats attached to long pieces of string, in turn attached to a short length, 40cm, broom handle size wood; the idea being the boats are at full stretch of string, you stand with back to boat, wood in hands behind you, then on the shout “go” you roll the string on to the wood, first boat across the 2nd line wins. I thought this would make an excellent Rhoscolyn beach game.
Other games - uncooked egg throwing, one partner in the sea and on each successful throw the landward partner moves further away; wellington boot throwing (javelin), dinghy racing powered by swimming flippers (chariot racing) which we won after protests. Boat tug’o’war.
Later most took their boats down nearer to the restaurant at Yialova but we couldn’t be bothered so had a 40 minute walk along the beach, then a very dark row back to the boat at midnight, A lovely supper and prize giving - the games’ organizers had found us all Olympic type medals
SATURDAY 26 MAY 2012
Calm, sunny and warm
Jim B took us on a lovely guided walk up to Palaio Kastro and Nestor’s Cave. The wild flowers and butterflies absolutely stunning, so too the view from the castle ramparts. The walk down consisted of a vertical climb for a few yards then a steep path to the beach, a swim and picnic.
Drinks and nibbles on board a visiting CA boat who are on their way from Crete to Spain - some nibbles, delicious and abundant which meant none of us needed to cook! The boat was a 57ft trawler yacht, the engines of which the men drooled over and the rest of enjoyed the space. See July for an update and a coincidence.
SUNDAY 27 MAY 2012
Sun, warm, good breeze.
Slipped 10.00 for quick run to METHONI. Just as we turned to enter the bay we saw a solitary turtle happily flipping its way north.
Anchored in the wide bay and after lunch rowed to shore for a visit to the beautiful castle. Another couple and us found a way in although the castle was shut, for a lovely explore! The architecture Venetian and Turkish, the flowers super abundant, so many plaques showing St. Mark and his lion, a church still used today with a magnificent black and grey tiled floor in “box” pattern.
Quick drink in the square and back to lamb chops and an earlyish night, of course, not exactly restful as the boat always finds yet more squeaks to keep one awake.
MONDAY 28 MAY 2012
Sun, stronger wind, warm in shelter
Off to shop, a small Carrefour and two good greengrocers. On reflection the Carrefour not very interesting, but did have bacon for Mike; bought lovely fruit from greengrocer.
The afternoon spent doing a few small useful works, then off to taverna for the quiz night very well organized by Karen and Nigel - we lead after first round, finally came 2nd. Our team name ESI (Cosi and Eos) were joined by Paul and ?? on Rockhopper, friends of some of the crews but not CA members; they proved to be a very helpful and formidable duo!
The taverna is newly owned by a couple from Athens who ran a largish establishment there, but decided to move out. The food not the best we have tasted, but a good atmosphere.
We like Methoni which seems to be relatively well off, there being several old houses being beautifully restored. Of course, the castle is stunning and must be a tourist draw.
Weather OK, but still too much like a good Rhoscolyn day.
TUESDAY 29 MAY 2012
Sun, good sailing breeze.
We all moved out of Methoni circa 10.00. Some managed a sail around the outlying islands looking at suitable anchorages. A shoal of dolphins played around the boats for some time.
We arrived at FINAKOUNDA circa 11.00 and have had to anchor as no room alongside.
As suggested by a Dutch skipper, today we fitted two 5m lengths of chain to hang from the swim platform - these are to slow down a) the roll and b) our swinging; on a short time scale think they may have had a good effect; one would probably be perfectly adequate in most situations. We have also found a suitable long pole for our new fishing net - this to enable us to quickly pick up from the sea the various items we drop overboard.
A game of Mexican Train Dominoes with Rosa which I won (beginners luck I think). Then a quick dash up to Elenas’ restaurant where the owner Elena gave us a quick history of the development of the region, together with his early life here and the political problems besetting Greece at present. He also has a farm and 2000 olive trees from which he makes a first press oil, a tin of which he gave to each boat and a bar of soap - nothing is wasted from the olive tree. Unfortunately for the whole Greek olive oil trade, they are not able to charge a good rate for this to be a major addition to the economy; apparently the Italians buy large amounts which they then sell under their own names.
We all had an excellent supper with the additional entertainment of Greek dancers which a party of Dutch had asked for. I must remember to make enquiries as to the possibility of some organization wanting Mum’s Greek costumes which Grandfather brought back from Athens in the early 1920’s.
With the addition of the chains from the stern we were facing in completely the opposite direction to all the other boats - don’t know whether this is a good thing or not.
WEDNESDAY 30 MAY 2012
Sun, flat calm and some mist early. Force 4 later
I had a good row to shore for bread and delicious looking pork to make souvlaki this evening. Did a bit of washing, cleaned windows etc. etc. Now that I have finished chores, the wind has got up and it is quite chilly again so no lazing in the sun.
Mike and I walked up to the cemetery to wonder at the ages of all those buried there, mostly late 70’s and older. We now know why their gravestones are all newish; after 5 years or so of burial your bones are dug up and placed in the Ossuary and the next lot of burials take place.
Off to Jim and Caroline’s house for a blind wine tasting; they have a collection of very attractive wine tasting saucers. Whites not quite to our taste, better reds; a French, Italian, Greek and one Chilean - good fun.
THURSDAY 31 MAY 2012
Calm, sun, good breeze later
Slipped 08.10. Very quiet out of bay and round the corner, then a good southerly breeze for sailors and for us too. A large pod of dolphins came to play, the boats behind us also saw some at the same time so there must be a good number in the area which is very encouraging for the conservationists.
Arrived back at KALAMATA circa 12.30. Sven and Bente first here. A large Gibraltar registered catamaran is in our old place and we had to pick up a revoltingly dirty head rope, whereas our old one we had over the winter was relatively clean. Good to be back but we have missed Stathis as he is in America, I shall have to leave the Jubilee book with Dimitrios.
A quiet afternoon.
FRIDAY 1 JUNE 2012
Calm and warm
Busy day, shopping first thing; I keep forgetting to say how wonderfully sweet and flavoursome are the Greek oranges, we don’t find them at home as the skins are not adequately uniform for British supermarkets.
Boat washing, we had just finished when the fuel man left diesel on our clean decks, this has never happened previously. We took a top up in case the price rockets after the Greek elections.
We had a big push to tidy the boat as the whole rally was coming on board in an effort to finish the wine boxes bought for the first day’s gathering at Katakolon. Also, of course, the dressing of the boat overall - 4 of us have done this - which engendered a lot of questions as to the reason - the Queen, of course, and her Golden Jubilee.
All found a place to sit or stand and a jolly party was had by all; we managed a group photo, 24 on the starboard rail, hardly a list at all. 20.00 off to Taverna for a final supper, good fun, but food not the greatest. the patron obviously hadn’t believed we would all turn up, so no extra staff and not a great deal on the menu!! However we toasted the Queen in true naval style, I hope she is proud of us. Jim and Caroline for the night again.
SATURDAY 2 JUNE 2012
Calm, sun, warm, good breeze later
A slow start, I wonder why! Fond farewells to those leaving, we hope we will meet up with some in the future.
I did a quick fruit and veg shop around the corner, the inside of the shop is always very hot, all the family smoke and Granddad peeling shrimps - the fruit though is very fresh and luckily displayed outside.
Just down the road is a collection of charcoal makers from whom we have bought enough to last the summer.
Lunch on board Meanderer, delicious.
Sleep in the afternoon also awaiting delivery of the rental car for our trip to the Mani peninsula tomorrow.
SUNDAY 3 JUNE 2012
Hot and lovely
Left 09.00 with picnic for the Mani. No bread ready at our baker here, they have a lie in on Sundays I think, so thought I could pick some up in Kardamili where Patrick Leigh-Fermor lived - not a bit of it - a very stroppy lady at the supermarket was astonished we thought we could get fresh bread today; however we did pick up some delicious bacon and cheese pies and baklava for supper; the pies are a typical lunch time meal in Greece where you see everyone eating them out of the paper bag.
Off and away up and over the hills, as usual we took a wrong turning (not having a very detailed road map) and spent a few kilometres on a very rough road; however the flowers were brilliant, every possible variety for a hot climate, phlomis, achillea, thistles, cistus, cornflowers, herbs of all sorts and surprisingly to me cotinus (smoke bush). Huge numbers of beehives and of course olive trees. I don’t know why olive oil can’t be a major contribution to the Greek economy instead of selling it cheaply to the Italians.
Finally reached the top of the pass on top of which is built a rather dull monastery. Decorated with some very bored looking saintly icons. Luckily only one or two people, but looking at the car park, there is marking for several coaches too. Also there must be a large flock of goats judging by the droppings!
Down the east side of the peninsular where the vegetation is completely different, fir trees etc and not nearly as many flowers. Got lost a number of times, but did pass through many tiny villages with beautifully paved central squares and the most fabulous Byzantine churches. In one square a very smartly dressed and thin lady was chatting with the priest - who was chatting up whom I wonder?
We passed a beautifully constructed charcoal burners mound, about 5m in diameter and 3m high with rather nice corbels below the domed roof.
The Maniot architecture is very attractive and by and large new buildings follow this tradition, the best are those that don’t use too much cement and dark mortar, in the centre of the peninsula the houses have red tiled pitched roofs, presumably as they get snow, whereas those nearer the coast have flat roofs below castellations.
Driving along we saw a 1 metre long snake disappearing into the bank, Jim B told us they are harmless but would give you a big fright. We had to stop further on for me to dig up some soil for the rosemary plant we bought in Kiparissia which needed potting on.
Home to meet Dimitrios, but he obviously didn’t get our message. Drinks later with Dave and Lindsay.
We managed to watch some of the magnificent Golden Jubilee Thames River Pageant, though rather interrupted due to overload on the wifi system - what’s new?
MONDAY 4 JUNE 2012
Hot, clear blue sky, no wind early
By the time we had refuelled the car, paid John the mechanic, paperwork at Coast Guard and Marina Office etc. etc. we finally slipped 10.45. We were sorry to leave Kalamata -as with all places you stay and meet many people and it is always a wrench to leave. The really helpful ones deserve a mention- see the Greece page
Lovely trip down to Ak Akritas, then force 5/6 but not much sea. Decided to make for PORTO LONGOS on NISOS SAPIENTZA, where we had a lovely overnight stay with the beautiful full moon for company. You would think this a place of no lights, however together with the moon we had the lighthouse and the lights of the two fish farms. The lighthouse looks to me the same design as that on Ak Maleas on the easternmost Peloponnesian peninsular.
Just a nautical mile or two south of our route the sea varies from 6,000 to 12,000 feet deep!! Also via AIS we have on the screen three ships anchored off Benghazi about 290 miles south from here; no land in between but still a good distance. Probably a “skip”
TUESDAY 5 JUNE 2012
Hot sun, big swell, no wind, later 4/5
Slipped 07.50 for a good run north to KIPARISSIA again, this time we managed to come alongside in a spot where no jutting out underwater concrete to catch the unwary. A large trawler and attendant boats alongside too, lucky they weren’t in last week when we had to find places for 9 boats.
We needed some exercise so walked up to the castle through the old part of the town which has some very attractive and well modernised houses, though of course many in a dilapidated state too. The castle itself doesn’t have a lot to it nowadays, but views from its strategic position were lovely.
Found the bus office and travel info for a trip to Mt.Olympus tomorrow, 08.00.
WEDNESDAY 6 JUNE 2011
Sun, some cloud and small breeze
Off at 07.30 for walk to bus. The bus station is a very small office with a canteen and some chairs and tables. The local priest was already ensconced with a few vociferous ‘friends’ for an early morning coffee and discussion - I would have liked to take a photo, but too close and personal. At 08.00 the party broke up and they went their separate ways, some to work I presume.
The bus system has a secondary use as a parcel delivery service and very efficient it is too; it amazes me that these packages can be left waiting for pick up and no-one pinches them - I don’t think we could be so trusting at home. One fellow arrives in a very battered car, leaves it, door open and engine running, to pick up his order of exhaust pipes, another takes delivery of a bunch of walking sticks.
Off we go to Pyrgos (quite large and obviously a hub town), through all the villages so about 1.5 hours. Another immaculately clean bus station, canteen and waiting area. No.120 takes us to Olympia. The town is surprisingly free of tat shops and is rather pleasant.
The Olympus site is very low key, no notices except explanatory boards, lots of trees and not too much reconstruction and almost empty of visitors. The Temple of Zeus would have been enormous and quite overwhelming, built circa 470BC and was largely destroyed by an earthquake; you can see the gigantic column fragments just thrown around. The actual altar where the Olympic flame is lit is very lowly, but obviously is hugely symbolic.
I don’t know whether I have overloaded on ancient monuments, but I didn’t find Mount Olympus as moving as I was expecting; I think I was expecting the site itself to have a hill. I still think the ancient site at Iassos in Turkey my favourite place.
We had a quick look in the museum and a rather nice separate exhibition of copies of Greek ancient technology which was of the greatest interest, wonderful models of machines thought up by Pythagoras, Archimedes, Heron etc.
Nice sandwich lunch near the bus stop, a chat with an old man who insisted on giving us some of his apricots; bus back to Pyrgos and a long wait for the Kiparissia bus which was late; we wondered whether we had inadvertently missed it and would have to stay the night in town.
Back to boat for the first BBQ of the season and the most delicious lamb.
THURSDAY 7 JUNE 2012
Warm, brilliant sun, very slight breeze
This is the day for stripping out the wheelhouse for a major varnish and general tidy, all fixtures and fittings taken off, curtains washed and a lot of dust made from the sanding. The breeze was perfect for keeping us reasonable cool.
Did a bit of shopping, the fish again weren’t particularly tasty, I don’t seem to be good at buying fish other than calamari.
Each evening the dark clouds appear on the hill tops but don’t come further down, good.
FRIDAY 8 JUNE 2012
Warm, clear blue sky, sun, slight breeze, more at sea
A really hard day, still sanding, then one coat of varnish, looks better already.
Suddenly we heard a call to Eos, and there was Rosa di Vente coming alongside, good to see them. They must have taken pity on us as we were asked to supper which was very kind as I was not feeling like cooking supper at all. Slept like logs.
SATURDAY 9 JUNE 2012
Warm, brilliant sun and blue sky, slight breeze
A quick shop, forgot that the post office wouldn’t be open today to post the booklet to Stathis. Mike found the weekly market just up from the main square, and bought some more carpet for our deck entrance mat.
Back for the second and third coats of varnish. We are very pleased with the result, though some of my larger panels need more work. We have vowed to re-coat more frequently, the doors, shelves etc which get a real hammering from the sun.
Next door came for drink to celebrate our finished project!
SUNDAY 10 JUNE 2012
Warm, clear blue sky, no wind in harbour, breeze at sea
No alarm clock today!
Spent the day putting back all fixtures and fittings, though not the wheelhouse curtains as we think the boat looks better without them; we shall have to decide over the next few weeks; we do, of course, have our external sun blinds so not completely exposed to the outside world.
Walked up to the taverna on the hill, expected to be ripped off for some reason, but no - as usual the ice was broken by talking about Liverpool/Everton football teams.
MONDAY 11 JUNE 2012
Hot, sun, no wind early, heavy swell, lessening later.
Slipped 09.45 after Rosa di Vente and us had watered and Mike had been up to the post office and not found the paint shop where he had bought the brown draught excluder, however he did buy a very delicious light brown loaf of bread!
A heavy swell initially, then a bit of wind and no swell, finally a really lumpy sea.
ZAKINTHOS harbour is enormous, about 3 ferries which seem not to take any room at all. Had to visit the Port Authorities miles away at the other end of town, the alternative was to pay the ‘unofficial official’ a hefty charge.
In 1953 a massive earthquake devastated the town and island, and indeed most of the Ionian islands. The town has been rebuilt to the same design as previously but with modern building materials - Venetian in essence. Pleasant at present but in the height of summer I would think awful.
By the time we got back from our walk, the harbour wall had filled with yachts.
TUESDAY 12 JUNE 212
Hot, slight breeze
Alongside, quiet early, came a 70ft ketch on her way from Tunisia to Athens. The crew sound like Essex city bankers and after a very long lunch they arrived back on board the worse for wear and their language quite disgusting.
Mike and I took our life in our hands and hired a scooter for the day, the first time since our honeymoon on Ibiza nearly 47 years ago. We were a little shaky and my hip hurt which made it difficult getting off the bike. We got to a high point on the island, had a very expensive but delicious freshly squeezed, home grown, orange juice and came back to the boat. A bit hairy on the busy road back into the centre of Zakinthos. There will not be a lot more scooters hired!
The island is the chief currant growing area and certainly there are a lot. A large number of new villas, painted in pink or ochre, or red; I assume they are Zakinthos residents as I don’t think holiday houses would have been built in the positions these have been.
The island is said to be quite verdant, especially on the central plain and there is a lot of cultivation, but it seems to me to be rather dusty with a number of derelict or near derelict cement plants, car breaker yards etc. The fruit growing appears to be profitable. Several honey and olive oil private outlets.
I actually sat down and read a book this afternoon!
Had to do some shopping and walked up a road parallel with the harbour; some quite upmarket shops including United Colours of Benetton, ladies and children, men’s tailors and a host of hairdressers. I came back so exhausted couldn’t possible cook supper - off to the end of the jetty to a jolly real Greek cafe.
In the hope of finding an internet connection we went to a very elegant bar on the huge square with other lovely buildings around. Lots and lots of small children having a wonderful time playing safely whilst parents have a quiet drink. Also a lovely church which one would be forgiven for thinking was an old stone barn!
The walkway jetty for one of the ferries is beautifully designed with lovely street lights and then a sort of open to the air arcade!
The drunken bankers arrived back late and again, were very noisy until one of their members told them to shut up.
WEDNESDAY 13 JUNE 2012
Hot, windless, fog at first
Slipped 08.45. Watched the bankers go off, they will probably survive the Corinth Canal! Flat calm, then fog <200 metres visibility. We had to put on our navigation lights, use our horn and keep a beady eye on the radar. A cruise ship (Costa Fascinosa) passed across our course 1.5 miles CPA coming from left to right, we neither saw nor heard her except on AIS (which is a vast comfort as you know her name and could ring her up on the radio) and of course Radar. We were of course the stand-on vessel- but much smaller! Then found another small radar echo at 1.5 miles with CPA .4 miles to port so altered to starboard. Never saw him either. I spent sometime in the bows on lookout and got covered with dew!
When fog cleared about 1100 we had a lovely motor up the coast in a flat sea. Arrived in POROS, CEPHALONIA circa 13.00, only two boats in, but soon an armada arrived! Dear little village behind the ferry terminal plateau; we are opposite the rather nasty ticket office and public loos, however if you look up at the cliffs you can ignore the lorries etc. queuing.
Anna and Nathan arrived with the children who had a lovely time on the boat for a short time. They are staying in a villa on the cliff just around the corner from here
As we saw in other Greek islands, the ferries are the commercial lifeblood. As I write the 22.00 has just come in with a huge number of cars, the lorries are mainly carrying supermarket supplies, a huge trailer of reinforcing rods, another with roofing tiles, all life is here!!
THURSDAY 14 JUNE 2012
Hot but windy, later force 6, quite loppy in the harbour but not inconvenient
A lazy day for me, but not for Mike who decided to tackle the very strange wiring system. We managed to remove metres of now unused cable and made a logical stab at re-routing others. You might wonder why we have only just got around to a fairly basic problem - until now too many other more urgent works.
Off the 18.30 ferry has come the re-filled cement lorry and same driver I saw going back empty to the mainland this morning.
Not too many boats coming in this evening, probably because the entrance to the harbour is none too easy in this wind.
FRIDAY 15 JUNE 1012
Hot, sun, breeze. V windy pm
Slipped 09.15 for SAMI to meet Anna, Nathan, Olivia and Alice. At first we thought it might be too windy to take the littles for a short trip, but once round the corner and into the bay, much better. We came alongside at Sami for the family to come on board with buggy, car seats and all the paraphernalia one needs for travelling with the very young. They left their car here and will get a taxi back to it from Eufimia
A lovely motor across the bay. We might have dropped the anchor for a swim if the depth hadn’t been so great, we just sat still in the bay looking at the wonderfully coloured sea.
Stern-to at the harbour wall in EUFIMIA A quick sort of the boat and change into smarter clothes for my birthday lunch at one of the harbourside tavernas. I had enormous grilled prawns wrapped in bacon - delicious. A jolly time was had by all, the children were brilliant. For pudding, across the road, led by Olivia, to the ice cream kiosk where we all got thoroughly sticky and covered with chocolate.
At long last I got my email sorted out - at some moment I must have ticked the wrong box!! How could I ever do things like that!
Very windy and rock and rolly, but as usual it died down in the evening.
SATURDAY 16 JUNE 2012
Hot, sun, no wind early
Washed our very dirty decks and windows.
Mike sorting out two-way wiring to lights in saloon. The defect turned out to be a damaged wire (from years ago) in the engine room which had corroded through. Hard to find even with a circuit tracer. Swimming later from a tiny beach with the whitest pebbles.
The harbour getting very crowded, suspect there will be crossed anchor chains and cross owners when we leave tomorrow.
Have just watched Greece beat the Russians, great joy here. Talking to our waiter, who has three jobs to keep his family in food and clothes, he will vote Communist in the elections as he sees the party as the only one which will help the masses. Twenty years ago he was in the Greek merchant navy and visited Russia often and thought communism a good thing.
SUNDAY 17 JUNE 2012
Hot, very little wind.
Bought hot loaf, baker open in spite of election day.
Slipped 09.45. Very calm. Explored various little bays ready for Sophie and children; so many of the bays are very deep unless you get in really close. Circa 13.30 arrived KIONI on east coast of ITHACA. A very pretty harbour, a bit twee but peaceful, very crowded later on. We are told that in August the harbour is wall to wall boats and you could walk across the bay via boats - not for us I think, we will take ourselves off somewhere much quieter. Later on Mike says we must think Cowes Week without the racing and not worry about crowds!
I keep forgetting to say again that the Greek oranges are the most delicious we have ever eaten, but may not appeal to British supermarkets as they are not a standard size or colour.
I have never seen so many couples of all ages, walking along holding hands, they look so unnatural as though this is just a holiday event.
On an exit poll it looks as though the Greeks have themselves another hung parliament, about 6 small parties taking votes away. We saw the news in a taverna with wifi, my machine OK, but not Mike’s. Anyway the staff were rude and we were pestered by flies, this hasn’t really happened before - mozzies, yes, but not flies.
The BBQ is not working too well, a long wait for supper perhaps; very good eventually, particularly the potatoes, parboiled then wrapped in tinfoil with olive oil and salt. All in the adjustment for wind.
MONDAY 18 JUNE 2012
Hot, slight breeze.
No alarm clock today. Did a few useful jobs before Mike and I set off up the hill to see what was on the other side - it wasn’t to be. We did walk nearly to the top along ancient tracks, but finally each was barred to us, we passed by tiny vineyards and olive groves; how on earth they get their grapes and olives down the hill as we were walking on very narrow tracks.
The scenery is gorgeous, very lush on the coastal strip, dense trees including lots of my favourite Cypresses. The powers that be have tried very hard to keep the island free of large holiday developments, and generally as far as we can see, they have succeeded; Kioni has several new properties which fit in very well. Lots of dark green painted doors and windows/shutters.
I spent a happy afternoon converting an old orange and red tent into a wind scoop to bring more fresh air into the fwd cabin.
We were having a quiet Metaxa up at the local cafe when a car came into the village, although there are large signs restricting traffic from 18.00-24.00; after it had gone back the children hauled out the no entry signs from the ditch and put them back in place.
Too many cats here. Apparently as the tourists feed them, they breed and multiply, the tourists go, the tavernas shut for the winter, no food so the cats revert to cannibalism, kindness is not always good.
Mike has fulfilled a 6 year dream, he has filled the hole on the dashboard left by a previous instrument of a different shape and covered it with black leatherette like the rest of the dashboard.
This little village would make an ideal destination for a mix of sea and land lubbers, lots of houses/flats to let, good tavernas, a little shop, small motor boats to hire, and for a honeymoon, divine. There is a couple who spend most of the day holding hands, sitting on their balcony overlooking the harbour. A bit of trek to get here as no airport, so ferry from somewhere on the mainland.
TUESDAY 19 JUNE 2012
Hot, breeze later and circa 17.00 the usual evening blow off the land
Next door boat rather noisy last night until 01.30, I had to have a word with them this morning, in the nicest possible way!
A bit short of battery power, so Mike had a word with a boat down the line which has fixed onto the Taverna’s power supply. They apparently have free power as long as they eat at the taverna. We thought we could do the same, after the boat has left, rather than run a generator.
Another rather lazy day, but a visit from Rosa di Venti for a beer and lunch was a treat.
Swimming later and I have nearly finished our rather strange wind chute, so far too windy to put it up until finished as it will probably blow away.
Awaiting the arrival of Kevin and Ann so we can go out to dinner at our electric supplier.
The election result is reasonably good news apparently, though of course it will be a bumpy ride.
A Dutch flotilla company, Happy Sailing, in tonight, all with orange biminis and orange T shirts for the organisers - certainly makes them stand out in a crowd. Apparently not much co-ordination between flotilla companies as to itineraries to the various ports, particularly if you are a non-English company, doesn’t sound very efficient to me.
Met a couple who run a waterproofed fabric company in Dundee, exporting worldwide; sounds like a descendant of Mr. Macintosh.
No sign of Kevin and Ann.
WEDNESDAY 20 JUNE 2012
Hot, 41 in afternoon inside boat, very light breeze
We have had another really useful day sorting out lockers; at long last we have put the ‘skirts and sandbags’ into a locker so no longer in our cabin. Mended the odd thing or two and I have finished the wondrous wind chute which works to an extent, as long as I am there to adjust at a wind change. Our boat neighbour says he has seen pop-up chutes for boats like ours, I must look in the next large chandler we come across.
About 20 Sunsail boats are in, bows to, most tied to the shore on the opposite side of the bay, mostly one line each, but all boats linked to the next by a short line at helm level.
A lovely swim on the other side, just right for me; I can swim far enough without going out of my depth. A group of young English all wimping about the cold water - what on earth do they want when the air temperature is in the 40’s. There are quite a number of people feeling the heat, Mike and I are lucky in that we have grown used to it slowly.
I must buy myself some little strappy dresses for sailing, the fashion, and obviously beautifully cool.
In the village a large house is being built, nearly complete but for the extra works to garage, pool and landscaped terracing. The workmen start at 08.00 until 18.00 with no stop in the middle of the day. The workmanship is to a very high standard, also to some of the lesser new builds/refurbishments in the area; a feature being the beautifully executed rendered reveals to doors and windows - very high class.
Our dinner at the adjacent restaurant, from whom we had a power supply, was disappointing, the food ok but not special and we were really hurried, in fact Mike’s plate was nearly taken away before he had finished. We were given tiny glasses of a cinnamon flavoured liquor - quite nice.
At the next door table an English couple in their sixties celebrating their 2nd wedding anniversary with lobster, so of course, they wanted photos of the occasion. It turned out they were from Norwich and knew and loved Holkham. Her son has been coming to Ithaca for about ten years and is getting married on the Island on Friday with at reception at this restaurant.
THURSDAY 21 JUNE 2012
Hot, force 3/4
Slipped 09.45 for ORMOS ABELIKI ON MEGANISI. Arr circa 13.00 and did our maiden tie back to the shore, so easy, why had we shied away from doing this before? The only sound as we came in to the bay was of cicadas, must be thousands of them.
A swim before lunch, mainly for Mike to inspect our anchor - well dug in - then he swam to the shore to inspect the two tavernas; it must get very busy here to support the two of them as there is no village, except across the other side of the island, only the odd isolated house here up on the hills. One in the process of construction, a very traditional four square house, beautifully proportioned, in a stunning setting in the trees just above the shore line.
The strange German couple we first met in Poros arrived for a swim; now a boorish boatful of Dutch men has just arrived, not a care for anyone swimming, other boats and nearly our anchor chain!! Now four of them are sitting on the sandy beach, naked.
Most other boats owners went off to the tavernas, so perhaps business is not too bad.
I got up in the night to sit on deck, the sky was almost completely covered by stars but where was the moon?
FRIDAY 22 JUNE 2012
Very hot, flat calm early, only a ripple later.
Very quiet when we got up, plenty of people swimming silently past the boat, one was a bit flummoxed by our generator bubbling away.
Decided to go as far as Levkas town to a good chandler. The canal cut through the marshes reminded us of our Danube trip as we motored past withies stuck into the river bed. Managed to find a parking place on the town quay; the chandler wasn’t particularly useful. We were hailed by Janicka Lycka who was just turning into the fuel berth; they are on their last weekend; we thought we would catch up with them later but didn’t find them.
Back down the cut and turn left to the mainland, past a huge bay with plenty of boats anchored including Souris Rose but we didn’t stop. No space for us at either Palaurus or Vunaki. Continued on round the corner of the mainland to opposite the island of Kalamos, which is surprisingly covered with conifers. A series of small boats acting as taxis between here and the island.
The scenery through the islands is stunning; I find it quite extraordinary that these tiny pieces of land should have such high hills/mountains many of them above 700 metres.. MITIKA is poor, more unfinished/deserted buildings than we have seen for some time. The harbour has been extended and soon will have water and electricity on the quayside. This improvement hopefully will bring in more boats with spending power.
So many of the sailing fraternity make a point of always anchoring, but whilst we enjoy the peace and quiet of anchorages, we like coming into a port to enjoy the hustle and bustle of these little places. However we agree that marinas are generally to be avoided except for leaving a boat for a time.
New moon tonight. Too hot to sleep, I decided on the aft deck cushions which were very comfortable. Mind you there was so much fishing activity, either on the harbour wall or boats toing and froing, that I didn’t sleep too well, but wouldn’t have missed seeing how these small communities run their lives. The landing craft went out about 05.45 on a couple of trips, obviously not very far off as he was back quickly; I haven’t ascertained exactly where he goes.
SATURDAY 23 JUNE 2012
Very hot though a bit more breeze than yesterday
Adjusted the idle timing on the port engine, well Mike did, I just watched the dial!
Shopped not very satisfactorily, but enough for risotto.
Slipped circa 11.00 for PORT KALAMOS, stunning scenery and enough wind for sailing if you were going in the correct direction. Arrived circa 11.45 to be greeted by George the self styled harbour master, who purely by chance also owns a restaurant at which one is rather expected to eat!
We are moored next to an ancient Danish trawler currently owned by three young Germans and their dog, a Beagle. Also opposite the village rubbish bins - what a landscape!
We took the dinghy down the coast to a white sandy beach for a swim - lovely. For our evening stroll up to the top of the village, quite steep, 2 sort of supermarkets, refurbished old properties which are probably holiday homes. Back to George for a beer, boat for supper, then off to Bar Panino for a crepe, lemon, cinnamon and cream for me, Grand Marnier for Mike.
Bar Panino owner was telling Mike earlier that 200 people live on the island permanently, swelling to approx1500 holiday makers and returning Greeks coming back for the summer. We have seen a few cars on the island, where does the fuel come from as no major ferries to bring it in. Lots of small water taxis to and fro.
Just behind the main ‘square’ are a couple of shops, the one we went into owned by a large cheerful man, the store is chaotic, everything in a jumble in boxes, not shelves, the till on a table with old flowery table cloth. Mike had to go back for a present to the next door boat for allowing us to use their internet connection and came back with a bottle of bootleg grappa made on the island, which is poured from a large plastic container, into any size bottle you might wish for.
SUNDAY 24 JUNE 2011
Hot, no wind, light breeze later
Lazy morning, though a bit of cleaning and Mike rearranged the forepeak bilge pump discharge as you do on Sunday mornings.
Re the dustbins, 8 large commercial ones; the type normally lifted mechanically, here on the island they are emptied by hand, bad luck on someone. Today these bins were all moved to allow the concrete to be painted white, then moved back, all very smart but no attempt was made to clear any other rubbish.
On the way to lunch, a wonderful picture of island life. Two priests assisting a group of widows out of a boat, we assume they had been down the coast to Port Leoni. This village was devastated in the 1953 earthquake and never rebuilt as the water supply had been so badly damaged. The church is kept open, services held, flowers and oil for candles kept fresh. I wonder how long this sort of devotion will last; will there be another generation of black dressed widows?
Out to George’s for a delicious Sunday lunch, then another taverna for ice creams and to watch the grand prix, a bit boring this one.
MONDAY 25 JUNE 2012
Hot, slight breeze later
Slipped 08.55 as the Danish trawler wanted to go early and we were tied to them. Went down the side of Kalamos, noted where the beach taverna is and also saw the church at Port Leonie.
Suddenly noticed that our rubber dinghy had burst in the heat and discovered a big leak, oh dear.
Came into ORMOS MARATHIA (AK TOURKOVIGLA) anchored for a swim, Mike scrubbed the weed off the hull. Continued down the coast to ASTAKOS where we were supposed to rendezvous with Kevin and Ann and their friends aboard a Sunsail charter boat, but no room for us and no one around to assist - we are always very wary where there are a lot of random buoys and a tangle of lines. This is the port for fish farm boats and personnel, obviously they are not going to be helpful, but usually other yachtsmen help. We anchored in the bay for a bit to see if anyone came out and also to make contact with K & A. They were just on their way to the inlet we had left, so off back up the coast. A lightning meeting, just time to catch up with news and they were off.
We decided to continue south to MESOLONGHI MARINA to check it out for the winter. Eventually arrived 19.30. The marina is in the marshlands down a long canal on the north shore of the Gulf of Patras, a very strange land of old fishermen’s stilt houses, a complete contrast to the mountainous islands.
The marina logo is a turtle and there, lo and behold, one popped its head up right by the boat. The marina is now part Dutch owned and saved from dereliction 3 years ago and has a very nice feel to it. Later we gathered that there had been a spot of bother about the hire of cranes, i.e. late payment; we hope this is resolved by next year.
TUESDAY 26 JUNE 2012
Hot, some breeze
Boat washing, clothes washing, Mike discussed with marina how to handle boat when she is lifted out next spring and is satisfied that all should be well.
Messolonghi has a university, lots of cafes and restaurants, think we shall be happy here! About 20 minutes walk to town centre: sometimes a bus. Of course there is the usual scruffiness too. On our way back we talked to the security guard at a depot of wind farm blades and turbines. These have been imported from Spain and are due to travel up to the hills.
Did a good shop, found a butcher, greengrocer and an adequate supermarket. Couldn’t find an AB, but know there is a Carrefour and Lidl somewhere.
We are moored right at the end of a jetty and have a superb view of the bay and the fleeting glimpses of turtle and surprise surprise there are at least two. We also have bats in the evening.
We spent a hour or two talking to Cosmote and Vodafone about a dongle. We have had such trouble getting internet connections this side of Greece that the time has come to spend money. We thought the networks would be better in the Ionian as generally the people sailing these waters are probably more demanding and wealthier than in the islands, but it doesn’t seem so. It is the same with water and electricity, here it is largely missing, but in the islands it is nearly universal.
WEDNESDAY 27 JUNE 2012
Hot, some breeze later
Mike went off early to Vodafone to buy his dongle, came back, tried to fit it, something wrong; back to the office with laptop, halfway through diagnosing the problem, the battery ran out, back to boat with Demetrius to recharge laptop and install the new system into mine. By this time after 14.00 when office should be closed and D taking his girl friend swimming - all bad. Don’t know where the fault is, we should know mid week.
What a disappointment and wasted a day when we could have been somewhere else.
THURSDAY 28 JUNE 2012
Not quite so hot and the odd cloud, bit of breeze
Ready for off 09.00, checked both engines, called the marina office to say we were going and they said wait a minute. Waited for 5 mins, then decided to go; however starboard engine decided not to. Out comes the starter motor, nothing wrong with that, eventually traced the problem to the neutral lead and a bad connection. No heavy duty crimpers on board to make a new one; luckily a German by chance in the office had a set on his Cat, new connection made but by this time a bit late for starting out as our next port of call was 40 NM away.
Thought we had invited the German for a thank you drink at 17.00 so invited Northern Light owners Rita and Barry also. No Germans turned up but we spent a happy couple of hours chatting about this and that.
Lots of turtle sightings, now quite certain there are at least two.
FRIDAY 29 JUNE 2012
Hot, odd cloud. Fog early, no wind
Slipped 08.50. Lovely misty run up the cut past the stilt houses.
Out at sea, Nav lights and radar on for a couple of hours until the mist cleared.
We made a recce to Oxia island which would make a lovely stop, however two fish farms in the best bays, and also very deep until you get within 20m of coast. You would have to be pretty certain the wind doesn’t change to onshore.
Onwards across the sea between mainland and Cephalonia. 3 ferries of different lines coming up the Gulf of Patras within 1.5 hours of each other, later two others; rather like the number of tavernas, is there enough business for them all.
Just coming into Sami when the wind got up, squeezed into the harbour in front of a ferry (which wasn’t coming in, but tying up to the outer wall), so no annoyance really. Inside no-one very helpful, waved away from one spot by Taverna owner who didn’t want a stink boat with large behind blocking his clients’ view of the harbour. Decided, in a fit of pique, to cross the bay to Eufimia where we had plenty of room and were warmly welcomed. Unfortunately the anchor didn’t take a hold first time around, the same for the adjacent boat. This always happens when the wind gets up and difficult to get lines ashore in time etc. Etc. Only 17.30 but felt at least 19.00, off to taverna for a beer!!
During the night birds tweeting very loudly by my ear, I am sure the swallows were roosting on our lines, tomorrow I will have words with them.
SATURDAY 30 JUNE 2012
Not quite so hot. Sun
Bit of a late start, washing off the cushion covers which had had midges squashed on to them! Shopping, more meat from the lovely butcher. The supermarket has a small chandlery at the back, also sells matches which had been difficult to find.
Large and beautiful Spanish boat has come in next door, not enough shore power to run his air con and water maker at the same time. She, lounging around, whilst He brings her drinks and food - I am going to be like this in my next life!!
Mike has sanded some outside woodwork for me to varnish tomorrow early. Wrote the remainder of post cards.
SUNDAY 1 JULY 2012
Very slightly cooler, 35c in cabin. No wind in harbour, but outside, people have had a good sail
Varnishing, cleaning internal stainless steel and chrome and other very good works.
Out to Sunday lunch at To Steki, however the baked lamb wouldn’t be ready until later, so just a beer and grilled calamari, then another beer on the house because we are good customers - this from a taverna who is always slightly behind in the number of covers; we told the waiter not to give us favours but to make a living..
We watched in amazement, a very large woman, trying to park, it must have taken her ten minutes going forward and back very very slowly; not really competent to be driving at all I think.
The beginner Sailingholiday.com flotilla coming in. Interesting they come bows too having dropped their kedge anchors, probably easier for novices.
Our waiter/owner is called Pericles, we have sent an email to Henry and Tabitha for them to find out about him before they come to visit.
Had a very good supper, Mike had his lamb and I had the most delicious moussaka; their mince is much finer than mine, also they make it in a shallow dish -must try harder when I return.
Australian couple joined us for the remainder of our meals very pleasant. Bought their boat in the Med last year and spend 5 months here, more sailing back home in Sydney in their summer.
Unfortunately Spain beat Italy in the Euro 2012, we had a Spaniard on one side of us and an Italian on the other but luckily no harsh words between them.
MONDAY 2 JULY 2012
Hot, some wind, more outside bay
For some reason I felt quite exhausted but did do some more varnishing, a bit of washing, cleaned out the shower room/washing machine sump - ugh, must remember to do it weekly - I don’t know why soap should be so dirty and revolting!
Australians came to look at boat and elevenses and we were invited for lunch with them. They are awaiting the arrival of two sons and a friend from Aus. Tomorrow they continue their travels west.
I went off to explore the rest of Eufimia. The council appear to have done really good works to make the town attractive to visitors. All along the coast road, trees planted, seats installed and steps cut down to any beach where people can swim. Lots of little tavernas and quite full. This town was the setting for the filming of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. I imagine there was a payment and assume this is how the infrastructure was paid for.
TUESDAY 3 JULY 2012
Hot, better breeze
Mike got up early to catch the 07.30 bus towards Sami and a plumbers’ merchant who would sell us the appropriate piece of hose. Unfortunately we had run out of water, my fault, the poor pump had been buzzing all night to no effect. Mike went off and I filled up when the water comes on at 08.00. Luckily for me, we found out later we had a leak on the hot water pipe, so I am not entirely to blame although I knew we were nearly empty!!
Varnishing and more rubbing down, hurrah. A good swim at the far beach with the most beautifully white pebbles,
Advertised is the best ice cream on Cephalonia, off we go; the ice cream delicious but the staff not at all communicative - probably won’t go there again.
A truly international collection of boats in the harbour today, Egyptian, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, American, NZ, Australia, S. Africa and the usual Dutch, French, Spanish, a few Brits. One 100 ft two masted schooner who had the greatest difficulty getting anchors to hold, I didn’t think he had put them out nearly far enough. Just as the harbour staff were finishing with them, a huge white yacht came alongside, but soon decided to go stern to outside the harbour to the far side of jetty wall.
WEDNESDAY 4 JULY 2012
Hot, slight breeze
Alarm didn’t go off. 08.30 painting more of the deck white to keep the temperature down a bit; I have the lucky job of cutting in around the stanchions and cleats. A quick change and off for the bus to Fiskardho.
What an excitement when our bus stopped in a village and we all had to change. Unfortunately two women on our second bus didn’t change and instead of going on to Sami they were on their way to Fiskardho. The bus driver stopped and tried to hail down passing traffic to take these two back to Sami, but no one offered. Eventually after much discussion from everyone, we continued to our destination. We then found they spent the afternoon in the resort and came back with us to Eufimia - you don’t get this excitement when travelling by taxi or hire car!!
We didn’t think much of Fiskardho, didn’t appear to have a local life, all tat shops and restaurants, the boats moored within inches of diners (we are often very close, but nothing like this, you would have absolutely no privacy.
I had thought of buying a bikini and a dress, also presents, but no luck. Instead we bought drain cleaner, boat varnish and some peppercorns!
The scenery is stunning, the coast line extremely steep, beautiful cyprus trees, views of Levkas, and Ithaca.
THURSDAY 5 JULY 2012
Hot, good breeze out of bay
Varnishing the toe and hand rails, they are beginning to look good again after the boatyard didn’t do them properly.
Swam and looked for small white stones for Sal to make into jewellery - must get some Captain Corelli merchandise, perhaps from the taverna, of his name as the filming was here.
Supper out To Steki. Live Greek music with, apparently, the best balalaika player in Greece and his father on guitar, singing together and sometimes joined by wife in her best dress, all the traditional Greek island songs which the children still learn at school. One very pretty little girl singing and clapping away, playing to the audience I think
Aristides (the harbour master) and his very attractive daughter and son also there. His wife is American of Welsh/Irish parents and still speaks Welsh as do the children. Ari worked in New York in the ’80’s, saw John Lennon nearly everyday and was not far away when he was shot. He also saw Tom Jones in Madison Square Gardens in 1981\2. This all came about cos Roger the Welsh in boat along the way put on a CD, then asked if we all liked Tom J, to which the answer came from all the boats ‘not a lot !!
FRIDAY 6 JULY 2012
Hot, good breeze later and a good 5 late afternoon
Varnishing again, only one more coat to go. A bit of shopping and nothing much else. Mike very laboriously cleaning the clock and barometer after many years of neglect; my only concern is that I shall have to keep them polished from now on.
The large ketch from the Grenadines left harbour today and left its dinghy behind- swift turnaround - someone not done their knots properly.
I bought from the butcher the Greek equivalent, or nearly so, of the French andouillette, quite nice.
SATURDAY 7 JULY 2012
Hot, good breeze later, again 5 in late afternoon
Last coat of varnish, though we will probably need to put a further coat or two before leaving boat for winter.
Washing, cleaning, tidying, bed making for the great arrival tomorrow. Big shop, however my bank card wouldn’t work in the shop card machine, but I was able to draw money from ATM - I had informed my bank that I would be using the card in odd places.
The evening perambulation along harbour quay today has produced several overweight Cleopatras, not a sight to be recommended. The noisy Spanish woman on boat next door has arrived back from where ever she went earlier in the week. For some reason the fact we have Liverpool on the stern now causes a certain amount of hilarity - it’s been there for years and not had that reaction previously.
SUNDAY 8 JULY 2012
Hot again, little wind
Lie in for once. Text from Sophie to say plane 2 hours late - what a bore for them. Finally Costas(Taxi) and I arrived at Argostoli airport, plane arrived 15 mins later.
We had dressed the ship overall, but the wind got up so much that Mike had to take the flags down as too windy. So exciting to have them. Quick swim. Supper at To Steki, but Pericles not particularly attentive considering now we had grandchildren with us.
Everyone tired and far too hot. Sleep disturbed.
MONDAY 9 JULY 2012
Slipped 09.30 for Pera Pigadhi, a tiny island off Ithaca which has the tiniest harbour wall, we actually anchored in between the island and Ithaca. The water here is said to be the clearest in the Adriatic, certainly blue as blue and clear. Children a bit apprehensive about swimming in water so deep.
Quick lunch, then off to Vathi Ithaca. Stern to just before main harbour as we needed a quiet night. Very vociferous Yorkshire man assisting people in. We were on the side of the jetty which took the brunt of the wash! Just going to sleep when I heard someone throwing small pebbles on to the deck; what an odd thing to do! Nevertheless a very pleasant spot.
TUESDAY 10 JULY 2012
Hot slight breeze
A quick visit to Vathi proper, a delightful town and harbour, will definitely visit next time we are in the area.
Before we were able to slip, our Yorkshire man needed to move his berth so I waited for nearly quarter of an hour whilst he took up his anchor, motored out, re-set his anchor and eventually came in - from last night’s posturings I assumed he was an expert.
The scenery up to Vathi is stunning, quite fiord like; the island is nearly split into two at this point.
Lunch and swimming in One House Bay on Nisos Atoko having first slipped very quietly into Cliff Bay on the south side and what cliffs. The geology is extraordinary and beautiful.
We had been warned that One House Bay could be full of flies, to shore and back - I didn’t. Lunch, then off to Port Kastos where we anchored in the harbour and put out a kedge rather than tie to the shore, this way we had a shaded stern deck.
More swimming to the shore. Mike went for an explore for tavernas, came back to the bar right on the beach where he was nearly charged 5€ for a beer. Harbour full by evening, some at quay, most anchored and tied back to the shore - swimming to shore with line is the way to go especially if your dog swims too.
Good but basic supper, too many flies though.
WEDNESDAY 11 JULY 2012
Hot, slight breeze, quite strong late afternoon
Lots of rowing practice taking us to shore to do some shopping. The ‘supermarket’ owner is half NZ and spends her Greek winters in Wellington, Seatoon(?). W ne popped into the gift shop to find the owner was also the taverna owner of last night; as he said “we Greeks are lazy so need to have more than one job”. Sounds as though he is anything but lazy. We bought one or two bits and bobs, he had some quite nice things to sell.
Slipped 10.30 ish for Port Kalamos. The lovely George couldn’t let us close to the taverna and its electricity, so opted for the seaward side of the harbour with our stbd side (generator outlet) closest to adjacent unoccupied boat.
Very hot so off to Georges restaurant for a quick lunch. With a certain amount of grumbling we set off for the 15 min walk to the beach south of the port; luckily on arrival a good wind was blowing to make lovely surf waves and the day ended on a high, particularly the addition of an ice cream!! Supper on board. Port very crowded.
THURSDAY 12 JULY 2012
For a change - hot.
Lovely trip with Tabitha driving. Called in to have a look at Episkopi the capital of the island; A few houses and a road which was not obvious. This is where the old troop/tank carrying ship comes in from Mitika with building materials, cars, fuel lorries and all else heavy and useful.
On to Meganisi and Ormos Abeliki. This time we just anchored as the swimming only area had been cordoned off so not sufficient shore available. We spent a lovely afternoon jumping off the boat,(at long last, us adults have been waiting for this moment, the children have been talking about doing it this all holiday) swimming and rowing.
Vathi town is only a very short walk away. Another pretty and busy little harbour/port down quite a long wooded bay. We may well come into Vathi on our trip with Tom and Madeleine.
Adequate supper at the Pirates’ Cove restaurant, spoilt by too many wasps. The 2nd taverna appeared to be serving drinks only, so in spite of its name we had to go to the Pirate place.
For once slept like logs.
FRIDAY 13 JULY 2012
Hot, breeze later
Lazy start, swim then off to Sivota at the southern tip of Levkas, up a long inlet. Another delightful place. We came in on left hand side a bit out of the main village. Dear little ivy covered taverna within 5 metres. We were helped in by the lady of the taverna but turns out she is the Levkas representative and was waiting for a mega yacht to come alongside us. David and Jill were anchored in the middle of the bay, they came ashore and onboard for a drink later in the day.
Sophie and children found the beach at the far side of bay. H & T met up with the Italian child on boat next door to us. I bought a pretty pink and flower thin dress and a rather odd top reduced to 5€.
First the little island cruise boat came in which usually lives in Eufimia and Mike was able to help with lines, they went and finally the mega yacht Baku arrived with a mainly Philippine crew. We weren’t impressed with their ship handling. David and Jill had been told their boat was in the way and could they take up some of their chain - not pleased about this. Mike was able to help Baku come in and was given a packet of Lindt chocs for his services. However lady Levkas gave him a bottle of Ouzo for helping her!!
David and Jill came on board and we discovered that David had been one of Nigel’s first clients, whilst he still worked for Halsey, when David bought Souris Rose. It was really nice to hear this story and they were equally thrilled. Verity remembers David and we discovered Jill had been a super-yacht captain for a year or two - no wonder she is so competent.
We then had more visitors, the children having found yet more friends. Simon and Nicky and daughter Katie; he a song writer of some repute and she a caterer also of some repute - a delightful couple. Finally got children to bed around 23.30 - they, of course, delighted.
SATURDAY 14 JULY 2012
Hot, swell and breeze
Slipped circa 10.00 for final day, across the straights between Levkas and Cephalonia, at one point no land between us and Italy.
Called in for a look at Fiskardho, not very busy at this time of day. The swell was a bit too much for Tabitha who was a little sick, Sophie and Henry just felt not quite right.
Tried to find a suitable swimming cove, but as usual onshore wind and too deep to anchor until nearly on the beach. Abandoned this idea and set of for Eufimia where we were warmly greeted again.
We had a lovely afternoon on the first little beach, ice creams at the little taverna. Good showers to wash all salt away. Supper up the road at Paradiso. Very good. Earlyish night.
SUNDAY 15 JULY 2012
Final morning. Tabitha and I were too early for bread, so she had a pain chocolat whilst we waited, I was very good and didn’t.
I took H & T to beach for swim and stone throwing. This is the early time of day when the old grans come to swim in their hats; the next time of day is around 17.30.
Costas the taxi driver arrived on time to whisk the Bevans off to airport. Sad to see them go as we won’t see them again until early October. Monday morning they are off to France.
Mike and I quickly got boat ready and slipped 12.15 for a lovely run to Messolonghi, arrived 17.30 ish. We have a good spot for turtle watching. On the way a single dolphin came to play for ages right under our bows - what beautiful creatures they are.
Very hot, beer at taverna called. Too hot to sleep, I spent sometime on deck but not all night.
MONDAY 16 JULY 2012
Hot, circa 15.00 wind about force 6
Washing boat, ‘doing’ engines and generator. 3 washing machine washes and towels done in the marina machine. Cleaning and tidying.
Very glad we keep an eye on the forecast, we knew it would blow up today.
English flagged boat came in dismasted, how horrid, it would put me off sailing if indeed I need an excuse!
TUESDAY 17 JULY 2012
Hot and very windy from the east which is unusual at this time of year
More tidying. We are getting much quicker at putting the boat to bed, about time you might say.
Supper at Marina cafe where you can order food from their sister place in town. Mike had delicious lamb but my ‘rooster’ a bit dry. We met up with ??? who had the most delicious club sandwich from the bar. We had met them in Kioni, they usually leave their boat in Preveza but are exploring more southerly this summer. They told us about the funicular railway at Patras and also very pretty island further along the gulf of Patras, we might well visit in September.
Arranged to share a taxi with Barry.
I had a sleepless night until I took myself off on deck, but this time on the galley cabin top, aft area far too windy.
WEDNESDAY 18 JULY 2012
06.00 taxi to bus station. Good strong coffee and a roll to get us going.
Lovely scenery, new to us until we got to the Corinth Canal. Good trip. Airport Express bus waiting for us. Easyjet flight left a few minutes early. We arrived in Manchester on what must be nearly the first day of warm sunshine and no rain. As usual we missed the Airport train to Liverpool and had to change at Piccadilly, Manchester. Who was on the platform but Frank who has just come back from a ferry trip back from the St. Lucia to Azores; it was good to catch up and hear about his trip;
Home, house in good order, but garden VERY weedy after all the rain; our rain gauge was full. A very good night’s sleep, wonderful.
What a lovely summer, exploring, meeting new people, eating, drinking, having Sophie and family on board, swimming and learning new skills.
We have come to realise that if we continue with short trips we shall require solar panels. We don’t top up the batteries sufficiently and when at anchor or somewhere without shore power, we have to conserve our battery reserves carefully. We also have plans to rejig our boarding gear and stern ladder next year.
Whilst the Ionian Islands are magnificent with some lovely anchorages and harbours, there are just too many boats jostling for harbour places. We rather enjoy our longer voyages, generally we find them less tiring. We haven’t decided where to go next year, the Croatian Coast appears to have too many drawbacks, mainly cost of mooring fees even when at anchor. More research is needed.
VOYAGES OF EOS 2012 part 1 - PORTS AND ANCHORAGES
19 Sept - 15 May Kalamata marina
16 May Finakounda jetty
17-19 May Pilos harbour wall
20-21 May Katakolon marina wall
22-24 May Kiparissia harbour wall
25-26 May Navarinou Bay (Pilos) anchor
27-28 May Methoni anchor
29-30 May Finakounda anchor
31 May -3 June Kalamata marina
4 June Porto Longos (Nisos Sapientza) anchor
5-10 June Kiparissia harbour wall (to do varnishing)
11-12 June Zakinthos harbour wall
13-14 June Poros, Cephalonia harbour wall
15-16 June Eufimia, Cephalonia harbour wall
17-20 June Kioni, Ithaca harbour wall
21 June Abeliki Ormos, Meganisi anchor
22 June Mitaka harbour wall
23 June Kalamos Port harbour wall
24 June O. Tourkovigla morning swim
24 June Port Astakos tried for night, no room
24-25 June Messolonghi Marina marina
26 June -8 July Eufimia harbour wall (more varnishing)
9 July Pera Pigardhi anchor for swim
9 July Vathi, Ithaca Jetty
10 July Nisos Atoko, One House Bay anchor for swim
10 July Port Kastros anchor and kedge
11 July Port Kalamos harbour wall
12 July Ormos Abeliki,Meganisi anchor
13 July Sivota, Levkas harbour wall
14 July Eufimia harbour wall
15 July Messolonghi Marina marina
Rally harbours and anchorages
June 2012 chart